There were many many things wrong with Vancouver City Council when it operated under the arrogantly domineering Vision Vancouver majority and its neoliberal pro-development financiers and backroom boys. Perhaps worst of all was their condescendingly dismissive treatment of local residents whose neighbourhoods were being bulldozed solely to satisfy developers’ profits and foreign buyers’ desires.
Vision Vancouver and their mostly American-trained staff created a culture of build for greed rather than build for need that turned Vancouver into one of the least affordable cities on the planet. Their backers laughed all the way to the bank.
In the last election, Vision Vancouver was essentially wiped out and for one sweet moment we were able to dream of a better tomorrow; a tomorrow in which Vancouver residents would actually be listened to and in which policies would be enacted to enrich our lives and make housing affordable and available to all.
But that dream has become a nightmare. Mayor Stewart (as some of us suspected from the start) is just a less photogenic version of Gregor Robertson, still under the sway of Visionista advisers and the still-intact cadre of Visionista staff at City Hall. Most of the One City and NPA Councillors have fallen into line, becoming Vision 2.0, pursuing unaffordable property developments, and the Greens have sorely disappointed. Only Jean Swanson and Colleen Hardwick have had the courage to stand up and be counted for the people.
But things might well get worse.
City staff are proposing to reduce community input even further and to strengthen the hand of City staff and those who influence them. CityHallWatch have reported on this “ominous” development, coming as it does just before “consultation” is due to begin on the new City Plan process.
“In 2012 CityHallWatch reported extensively on changes to this Bylaw brought in under the then Vision Vancouver regime at City Hall. Another attempt on the Procedures Bylaw was about to be made but abandoned just prior to the October 2018 civic election. It appears this new attempt to curtail the public voice and empower staff is a revival of the wheels set in motion then. The end of July is a strategic time for getting changes through Council with minimal public attention. We have seen this pattern before – for example with Vancouver’s Regional Context Statement under the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy.”
This disturbing proposal is due to be discussed at Council tomorrow. Here is how you can let Council know that these are anti-democratic policies that need to be rejected.